Virgin Australia had talks with the Australian competition regulator about its concerns about competition on routes between Australia and New Zealand.
Speaking during the airline's earnings call, chief executive John Borghetti confirmed that it was in talks with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on the market, but could not comment specifically on those discussions.
"I think what is probably suitable for me to say is that the dynamics about the Tasman are really complicated," he says. "As a result, there are … I believe complications from a competitive point of view and we talk about that with the ACCC, and it would be inappropriate if I were to say something."
At the end of October 2018, Air New Zealand ended a long-term joint venture with Virgin for the transtasman market and entered into a codeshare agreement with Qantas instead to supply feed to the Australian domestic network.
Qantas also added its code to a number of Air NZ services in New Zealand, in addition to the activities of its budget unit Jetstar in that market.
In contrast to the Air NZ-Virgin joint venture, the codeshare agreement with Qantas does not apply to transtasman routes, nor is there any form of income distribution.
That arrangement came under attack when it was announced in June 2018, with the Australian Airports Association concerned that this would further anchor Qantas' dominant position on the domestic market.
At that time, the ACCC and the New Zealand Commerce Commission refused to examine the codeshare agreement and make it harder for Virgin to compete on the Tasman.
Borghetti admitted that Virgin's transtasman cargoes declined in November as it reversed the capacity previously operated by Air NZ.
That saw the launch of three new routes – Newcastle-Auckland, Melbourne-Queenstown and Sydney-Wellington – and the frequencies from major Australian cities to Auckland and Christchurch.
FlightGlobal schedules show that Virgin will drive 18% of all chairs on transtasman routes in February 2019, putting it in third place behind Air New Zealand (37%) and Qantas (25%).